I love to read! Thus, my desire to become a teacher and now an online reading tutor. I always have at least two books in rotation at any given time. I will read just about anything, trade journals, textbooks, children’s books, mystery and science fiction. As I struggled with what to write about on my blog, my giant book of ideas in my head (formerly known as my brain) opened up and I realized that I could share my book finds here! So, this is the first of many Brooks eAcademy Bookshelf posts. Enjoy!
During the day, I spend my time as an Intervention Specialist Teacher to 5th and 6th grade students. I teach Math and Language Arts in a resource classroom. I love to start the year reading one of my favorite stories to my students. It is “Thank you, Mr. Falker,” by Patricia Polacco. In this book, Particia tells the story of Trisha, a young lady who struggles to read but is an amazing artist. During her early school years she realized her problems with reading which leads her to feel that she is dumb. It doesn’t help that she becomes the target of bullies. Finally, she meets the teacher that changes her life forever, Mr. Falker.
I take few days to read this book to my students, many of whom also struggle with reading. This book really opens up the discussion of not feeling smart. It really goes hand in hand with discussing growth mindsets with students. Trisha learning to read shows students that with practice you can improve your skills in reading, math or whatever you are working on. The book also touches on losing someone close to you in death and how painful that can be. Many of my students are moved to share their own stories of loss. It helps me to get to know more about my students and their family lives.
Besides, Trisha learning to read, my students are always amazed that this is actually a true story! In fact you could call it an autobiography. The story is about Patricia Polacco and the teacher that did change her life. When I tell my students that the author and illustrator of the book is Trisha, they can’t believe that someone who wasn’t able to read grew up to be an award winning children’s book author. I always end by telling my students anything is possible if you work at it.
How do you start off your school year with students? And for my fellow online teachers/tutors how do you start a first session with a student? Please comment below and let me know! If you have read “Thank you, Mr. Falker” to your class or students, please share how you use it in your classroom.
Until next time, read on!